A Malodorous Mystery: What Could Be Causing Your Bad Breath?

Posted on: 17 October 2019

Everyone's breath gets a bit whiffy on occasion. But what about when that bad breath is a permanent fixture that won't go away no matter how many breath mints you suck on? You might already suspect the cause, particularly if your diet features a number of olfactory offenders. You might also be a smoker, or you might be on medication that causes dryness in your mouth. But what about when you have no idea why your breath is so bad? Visiting your dentist is necessary for getting to the bottom of this malodorous mystery. 

Food Impaction

Food impaction occurs when a piece of food becomes compressed against your periodontium. This is a technical way of saying that a piece of food has been wedged between your teeth and gums in a manner that no amount of brushing and flossing will shift. This food is decomposing and can contribute to bad breath. Your dentist will remove the offending debris and will also examine the site. Gingival recession due to the early stages of periodontal disease can create a pocket that makes it easier for food to become lodged in the area. Periodontal disease can also be a factor in your bad breath.

Periodontal Disease

The bacterial film that coats your teeth and tongue can be excessive when you suffer from periodontal disease, and the subsequent odour can equate to permanent bad breath. If teeth are actually rotting in your mouth, then this is, rather obviously, going to create an unpleasant scent. Much like with food impaction, the pockets created by gingival recession can host an abundance of odour-causing bacteria. Your dental problems will need to be rectified, and when the necessary work has been completed, your bad breath should go away. But the onus is on you to maintain your teeth, and maintaining a high standard of oral health should prevent your bad breath from making an unwelcome return. But what if the cause of your bad breath isn't so obvious?

Additional Testing

If your dentist cannot immediately pinpoint the cause of your bad breath from a simple examination, they might opt to perform a BANA test, which is non-invasive (they just rub a swab along your tongue or test your saliva). This test identifies the presence of volatile sulphur compounds and bacterial imbalances in your mouth, which might not necessarily be related to your oral health. This test can be necessary to see what treatment is best for your particular situation. 

So if people recoil from you when you breathe in their direction, it's time to go to the dentist to find out why.